Cedric Griffin aiming for 'miraculous comeback' but vows to be patient
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Cedric Griffin says he's trying to make a "miraculous comeback" and expects to return to his starting role once he's recovered from ACL reconstruction.
But the Minnesota Vikings cornerback also acknowledged this morning it could be difficult to be ready when training camp begins the last week of July -- roughly six months into a rehabilitation process that often takes eight or nine -- or even the season opener Sept. 9.
"I know when I get back, I'll be back in my role and I'll be taking my (starting) spot," Griffin said. "But right now, I'm just trying to go with the process and make sure that everything's OK and not trying to rush anything."
Griffin, 26, tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee while covering a kickoff in the NFC championship game Jan. 24 at New Orleans and had surgery soon after.
He's been working out at the team's Winter Park headquarters and joined teammates for stretching during today's organized team activity practice, later saying he's "pretty much everything these guys are doing" even though he's not close to being cleared for on-field drills.
Six months is considered the absolute minimum for returning from ACL surgery, and some NFL medical staffs bar players from resuming full activity for eight to nine months because of the risk of reinjury.
Asked if he's concerned about pushing too hard, Griffin said, "That's always a concern. I'm a competitive guy, and I love to compete. I love to come out here and watch practice and see if I can do the same drills they're doing. So, they have to hold me back a little bit, but at the same time, I push myself definitely to the limits, for sure."
Last month, the Vikings signed veteran Lito Sheppard and used their top draft pick on former Virginia cornerback Chris Cook -- the top two candidates to start if Griffin can't at a spot some scouts considered a weakness even when Griffin was healthy.
However, Griffin downplayed the significance of those moves.
"We need depth on our team, and competition brings excellence," he said. "I'm one of the guys who loves competition, and when I get back, I'll definitely be competing, for sure."
Vikings defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said it's "hard to say" whether Griffin could be ready for camp but trainers are pleased with his progress.
"It really seems as if he's on schedule and a little bit ahead of schedule in some ways," Frazier said.
The regular-season opener Sept. 9 holds extra meaning for Griffin, since it'll be in the same building where he sustained the injury. For now, though, his primary objective is seeing how far he can come in the next two months, promising to take his time and let his leg tell him when he's ready.
"I would love to be 100 percent for training camp," Griffin said. "I know ACL surgery is difficult to come back from, but I'm trying to push the limits right here. I'm trying to make a miraculous comeback.
"But whatever happens, happens, and I'm just going to maintain what I've been doing right now and be trying to see where I'm at for training camp."